1718–1782

Oc­to­ber 1718, West­min­ster, Eng­land.

Au­gust 29, 1782, Spit­head (near Ports­mouth), Eng­land. He and hun­dreds of sail­ors drowned when their ship, the Roy­al George, sank while un­der­go­ing re­pairs.

West­min­ster Ab­bey, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Philotheorus.

portrait

Of Swe­dish des­cent, Kem­pen­felt was com­mis­sioned a lieu­ten­ant in the Bri­tish Roy­al Na­vy in Jan­u­a­ry 1741. He be­came a cap­tain in 1757, and ad­mir­al in 1780. He ad­mired White­field and the Wes­leys, and took a great in­ter­est in evan­gelism. His hymns were pub­lished in Orig­in­al Hymns and Po­ems. By Phi­lo­the­o­rus (Ex­e­ter, Eng­land: B. Thorn, 1777).

According to Town and Coun­try ma­ga­zine, Vol­ume 14, 1782, the Roy­al George could not be raised, so Kem­pen­felt’s bo­dy was not re­co­vered. How­ev­er, his bro­ther lat­er fund­ed a mon­u­ment to him in West­min­ster Ab­bey, Lon­don. Its in­scrip­tion:

In memory of Ri­chard Kem­pen­felt Esqr. Rear Ad­mir­al of the Blue who was lost in His Ma­jes­ty’s ship Roy­al George which ov­er­set and sunk at Spit­head on the 29th of Au­gust 1782; by which fa­tal ev­ent about nine hund­red per­sons were launched in­to eter­ni­ty: and his King and coun­try de­prived of the ser­vic­es of a great and mer­i­tor­i­ous of­fi­cer in the 64th year of his age.

This mon­um­ent was erect­ed pur­su­ant to the will of his bro­ther, Gus­ta­vus Adolph­us Kem­pen­felt Esqr, who died at his seat, La­dy Place, Hur­ley, Berk­shire, on the 14th March 1808 aged 87; of whose phil­an­thro­py and hu­man­i­ty his li­ber­al sub­scrip­tions and be­quests to most of the char­it­a­ble in­sti­tu­tions in this coun­try will be last­ing re­cords.

On the Loss of the Royal George

Toll for the brave!
The brave that are no more!
All sunk beneath the wave,
Fast by their native shore!

Eight hundred of the brave,
Whose courage well was tried,
Had made the vessel heel,
And laid her on her side.

A land-breeze shook the shrouds,
And she was overset;
Down went the Royal George,
With all her crew complete.

Toll for the brave!
Brave Kempenfelt is gone;
His last sea-fight is fought;
His work of glory done.

It was not in the battle;
No tempest gave the shock;
She sprang no fatal leak;
She ran upon no rock.

His sword was in its sheath;
His fingers held the pen,
When Kempenfelt went down
With twice four hundred men.

Weigh the vessel up,
Once dreaded by our foes!
And mingle with our cup
The tears that England owes.

Her timbers yet are sound,
And she may float again
Full charged with England’s thunder,
And plough the distant main.

But Kempenfelt is gone,
His victories are o’er;
And he and his eight hundred
Shall plough the waves no more.

William Cowper, 1782

  1. Bear Me on Thy Rapid Wing
  2. Burst, Ye Emerald Gates (refrain grafted to The Great Physician)
  3. Gentle Spirit, Waft Me Over
  4. Hail, Thou Eternal Logos, Hail
  5. Hark! ’Tis the Trump of God
  6. O My Redeemer, Come